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STAMFORD, CT – Cellphone sales leapt above one billion last year, according research firm Gartner Inc.
 
Globally, more than 1.15 billion mobile phones were sold, up 16% over 2006, the firm said.
 
While developing nations helped improve sales dramatically, replacement phones with special features helped drive sales in the developed world.
 
"Emerging markets, especially China and India, provided much of the growth, as many people bought their first phone," said Carolina Milanesi, research director for mobile devices at Gartner. "In mature markets, such as Japan and Western Europe, consumers' appetite for feature-laden phones was met with new models packed with TV tuners, global positioning satellite functions, touch screens and high-resolution cameras."
 
Leading the market was Nokia, with 40% of the market share and sales of about 435 million phones in the fourth quarter.
 
Motorola, on the other hand, slipped in the market last year, landing in third place.
 
LG, Samsung and Sony Ericsson gained market share.
 
Gartner expects handset sales to decline slightly this year, with sales growing only 10%. Most new growth will come from the developing market, while North America and Western Europe will slow. The two are expected to account for about 30% of global sales.
 
Gartner raises important questions for 2008: Will Nokia maintain its momentum? To do so, Gartner believes it will need to infiltrate North America, a location Nokia has not had much success in, says the firm.
 
What will happen to Motorola? The company doesn’t expect any big shifts in its cellphone business this year, and may be considering whether or not to sell its handset sector.
 
Gartner says significant new players in the handset market include China-based ZTE, Research In Motion and Apple.
LOUISVILLE, KYSypris Solutions Inc. reported fourth-quarter 2007 revenue of $103.7 million, down 5.3% year-over-year.
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SCHAUMBURG, IL – Papers are sought for the International Military & Aerospace/Avionics COTS Conference, Exhibition and Seminar, to be held Aug. 4-6 in Schaumburg, IL.
 
Papers are sought on commercial plastic-encapsulated components for use in high reliability applications. Specific topics may include reliability; testing; implementation; development; processing; specification generation; procurement (market, sourcing and supply problems); radiation hardness; Pb-free applications, and prognostics. 
 
Abstracts are due April 18 and must include the title, author(s), affiliation and address.
 
After acceptance, material to be included on a conference proceedings CD is required by July 18.
NORTH BILLERICA, MABTU International reported fourth quarter net sales of $18.3 million up 10% year-over-year. Net income for the quarter was $600,000, down 40% year-over-year.

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OXFORD, CT – AOI supplier Mirtec Corp. reported sales revenue for its North American division grew 23% in 2007.
 
President Brian D’Amico attributes the company’s growth to the recent introduction of two new AOI platforms.
 
“I am delighted to report our first quarter sales revenue has already surpassed our first quarter results for last fiscal year. We look forward to our continued growth in 2008,” D’Amico stated.

RENO, NV – Continued growth is expected in automotive electronics, with forecasts calling for annual growth of 9% through 2013. Growth in driver assistance, safety systems and entertainment are expected to be particularly strong, says a new report.
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OXFORD, UK - BizEsp Limited has announced the launch of Oxford Solders for electronics assembly products.

 
The product line will reportedly be marketed toward Chinese and Indian manufacturers, and will include solder powders and pastes, fluxes and BGA spheres.

 
The company claims strict adhesion to environmental laws.

 
The company will reportedly provide local service, support and training to clients in China and India. Mauricia Wang, business manager for China, will head client service operations. Wang has stated that the company is concerned about the environment and resource and energy sustainability, and their impact on the global economy, particularly in China.

 
With this in mind, the company will reportedly offer products based on environmentally responsible European and American technologies, and offer these "green" products to China at prices that are locally competitive, along with claimed higher customer service standards than those currently offered in China.

 
The company will display its products at the Nepcon shows in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

MONTREAL – If Flextronics wants to close its Montreal assembly plant, it won’t be without a fight from Teamsters Canada.

The workers union said it would challenge Flextronics’ decision to close the factory and layoff some 700 workers, the Montreal Gazette reported today.
 
According to the report, Flextronics is cutting staff and moving production to Mexico to cut costs for Nortel Networks, a major customer. The moves wll take place over the next several months, culminating in September.
 
“We are going to fight until the end to make sure these jobs stay in Montreal. We think Nortel's behavior in this is unacceptable," the report quoted Stéphane Lacroix, a Quebec-based union spokesman.
 
The report claimed an internal memo stated, "Over (the) coming months, the work done on behalf of Nortel by Flextronics in St. Laurent will transition to Flextronics' Guadalajara facility, to other contract manufacturers and, in some cases, back into Nortel itself."

Ironically, Flextronics purchased the site from Nortel two years ago.
 
Nortel and Flextronics did not comment for the report.
ST. PETERSBURGFoxconn Technology Group is making headway toward building an assembly plant near St. Petersburg. The firm has reportedly begun construction on a 12 hectare-site near Kolpino.
 
The company plans to invest about $50 million on the project and will employ some 5,000 staff at the site, according to reports.
 
Foxconn Rus and Logopark Kolpino signed an agreement on Feb. 22, which stated Foxconn’s plant will be constructed within Logopark.
 
A shortage of personnel in St. Petersburg is said to be a serious issue, and is unlikely to be resolved soon. Foxconn said it could introduce social incentives in an attempt to “improve the company’s compatibility in the market,” say published reports.
 
Plus, the company hopes to help with Kolpino residents currently working in St. Petersburg who commute between the suburbs and the city.
 
Hewlett-Packard has a stake in the project, and its PCs and laptops initially will be assembled at the plant. H-P’s share in the business is under discussion.
 
Initially 20,000 PCs and laptops will be produced in Kolpino, with future plans to expand production up to 100,000.
 
Production is planned for launch at the beginning of 2009.
 
HELSINKI -- Elcoteq will sell its Russian subsidiary ZAO Elcoteq to Flextronics. The deal includes Elcoteq's St Petersburg plant, and is expected to close in 60 days. Financial terms were not specifically noted, although Elcoteq said it would book a one-time gain of about $4.5 million in its second quarter.

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MANKATO, MN -- Winland Electronics has completed a restructuring of its manufacturing and operations departments. The EMS company promoted Jeffrey Ocker to director of operations and Steve Trnka to director of manufacturing.

Ocker had been manager of manufacturing test engineering since 2006. Trnka has spent eight years at Winland as a program manager and strategic account manager.

The moves are intended to support aggressive EMS growth objectives and also better align the company to its 2008 and 2009 initiatives in program management, supply chain management, quality management and information systems, Winland said in a press release.

The restructuring follows the recent hiring of Warren Mitchell as executive supply chain leader.



NEENAH, WI -- Plexus Corp. plans to enter into a $150 million long-term debt facility and initiate a share repurchase program to repurchase up to $200 million of its common stock by the end of 2008. The moves are expected to be accrective to the company's second quarter earnings.

As part of the share repurchase program, Plexus has entered into accelerated share repurchase agreements with Morgan Stanley to repurchase $100 million of its common stock. The company will pay Morgan Stanley $100 million in exchange for approximately 2.2 million shares.

The rest of the repurchases -- up to $100 million -- will be made in the open market.

To pay for the buybacks, Plexus will use existing cash and new long-term debt of $150 million.

"This announcement reflects our ongoing commitment to our shareholders' total return," stated Dean Foate, President and chief executive. "We believe that repurchasing Plexus stock at current market prices is an attractive use of our capital with the potential to create significant shareholder value."


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